End of Life Care

End of Life Care

Our pets love us unconditionally and bring us joy, comfort, and inspiration. One way we can return their love is to provide them with a peaceful end to their lives, one which minimizes stress and pain. These are never easy decisions to make, but they are part of the responsibility we take on when our animals come into our lives.

If you think that your pet may be nearing the end of his or her life, and you are not sure what to do next, you might find a conversation with me helpful. We can discuss your situation in a phone consultation, or I can visit your home to assess the environment and your pet’s health, preferences, comfort level, and abilities in person. I will answer your questions and advise you about measures you can take to make him or her as happy and comfortable as possible. If it seems that the time to say goodbye is near, I can help you explore all the facets of that choice, so you can make a decision that feels comfortable for you and your pet when the time is right.

Every family is different; there is no “right answer” or one-size-fits-all approach. I have many years of experience working compassionately with all kinds of pets and pet owners in many different situations, and I’ve also had to face these questions in my own life, with my own pets. I will support you without directing you.

Sometimes the way forward is clear. I know that nobody makes these choices lightly, and if you feel certain of what you need, I will trust your decision. If you decide on euthanasia for your pet, I will make the process as peaceful and painless as possible. You can choose the environment and location your pet prefers. I use gentle sedation first to allow your pet to drift off peacefully, at home, in familiar surroundings with beloved people.

When the euthanasia is completed, you can have as much time with your pet as you need. If you would like to have your pet cremated, I will transport your pet’s body myself, and will return his or her ashes personally to you if you want them returned. You can also choose cremation without the return of the ashes, or you can make your own arrangements, including the option to bury your pet at home.

Please feel free to call or email me to discuss end-of-life care for your pet. All questions, whether big or small, philosophical or practical, are welcome.


What to Expect During Euthanasia

Dr. Sminkey will work with you and your loved one to make the process as peaceful as possible. We recommend providing a calm and comfortable environment with tasty treats and soft bedding in their favorite spot in the house. People may choose to invite friends and family to give their love and support.

We will first administer a calming sedative under the skin to help ease your pet into a state of relaxation. We will then administer a concentrated anesthetic to painlessly and quickly discontinue brain and heart function.

Some people choose to take fur clippings or make an ink or clay paw print as a special memory. You will also want to think about body care, be it at home or pet cemetery burial or group or private cremations. We can help you with cremation services. You can choose to include a special toy or blanket, or perhaps a letter, photo, or flowers to be sent with them. If you are undecided, we can care for your loved one until you decide what you want to do.